Friday 21 July 2017

Mum pleads for deported husband

Michael Brennan Political Correspondent

AN IRISH mother of two is pleading with Justice Minister Dermot Ahern to bring back her deported husband from Nigeria.

Gillian Olabode (39), from Athlone, Co Westmeath, got married last year to Henry Olabode, an asylum seeker. But he was issued with a deportation order just two weeks after the wedding.

Earlier this month, he was put on a flight back to Nigeria.

Mrs Olabode turned up outside the Dail yesterday to urge Mr Ahern to revoke the deportation order, saying that she missed her husband very much.

"I talk to him every day on the phone," she said. "He's more worried about me than himself over there."

Mrs Olabode revealed that the couple had been hoping to have a baby together, but she had suffered a miscarriage last December. She was adamant that the marriage had been genuine and not a 'marriage of convenience' to get a residency permit for him.

She was previously employed as a hotel supervisor but was made redundant last October during the recession. She has two children, Andrew (18) and Sophie (13) from a previous relationship.

Sophie yesterday joined her mother at the protest outside the Dail, which was organised by the Residents Against Racism Group.

Andrew has written a personal letter to Mr Ahern.

Detained

"You have only brought stress, worry and despair into our otherwise content family," he wrote. "Is it not the Government's job to protect this country's people and all I feel you are doing is driving us apart?

"Is it just me or do you wish to convey the idea that my stepfather is comparable to a piece of dirt, easily discarded, as if trash found on the street?"

Irish people who marry EU citizens have the right to have their spouses live here with them. But if the spouse is from outside the EU, the State then has the right to decide whether or not they can stay.

Mrs Olabode recalled how her husband was detained by GNIB officers on February 24.

"He was up here in Dublin at a prayer service," she recalled. "He rang and told me he was on his way home.

"Fifteen minutes later, he rang me and said, 'Immigration officers have me.' They were waiting in an underground car park."

The Department of Justice said last night in response to Ms Olabode's situation that it was not its policy to comment on individual immigration cases.

Irish Independent

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